Charleston, South Carolina, is a fan favorite yet again in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. (Photo: Thinkstock/Sean Pavone)
Charleston is charmed — and the readers of Condé Nast Traveler know it. They’ve just voted it the No. 1 small city in the United States this year in the magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards. This isn’t the first time that Charleston stole their hearts: Every year from 2011 to 2014, the South Carolina gem topped the Best Cities in the U.S. category. That category was split into two this year, as a way to give more destinations a chance at the spotlight: Best Small Cities in the U.S. (population under 150K) and Best Big Cities in the U.S. (population over 150K). But even with the new approach, Charleston is still technically the best city in the world: It earned a higher score than the best big city in the U.S. (New York) and the best city in the world (Florence). So much for sharing the stage.
In its small-city category, though, Charleston beat out Santa Fe, Park City, Aspen, Savannah, and others thanks to its mix of southern charm and urban sophistication. As Condé Nast Traveler’s editors wrote:
“With its beautiful gardens, vibrantly painted Georgian houses along Rainbow Row, and carriages clacking across cobblestone streets, Charleston remains one of the country’s most picturesque cities. Underneath its sleepy charm, the city is known for its dynamic food scene—where destination dining reflects its English, French, and West African roots—along with a thriving theater scene, bustling King Street, and historic City Market. Come evening, stroll along The Battery and take it all in.”
The annual Readers’ Choice Awards ranks everything from cities to hotels, and from cruise lines to airlines; and this year, the results were calculated from surveys filed by more than 128,000 travelers.
Other highlights from the 2015 awards:
Best Big City in the U.S.: New York City
Best City Outside the U.S: Florence
Best Island in the World: Palawan, Philippines
Best Island in the U.S.: Maui
Best International Airline: Singapore Airlines
Best U.S. Airline: Virgin America
Best Hotel in the World: Singita Grumeti, Serengeti, Tanzania
Best Small Ship Cruise Line: Seabourn
Best Midsize Ship Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises
Best Large Ship Cruise Line: Disney
Best River Cruise Line: Grand Circle Cruise Line
You can also find best hotels and resorts broken down by geographical region. See all the winners at cntraveler.com.